Thursday, January 8, 2015

Possibly the Very Best Citrus

Not only am I a gardener, but my dad is a gardener, and my granddad is a gardener. IMG_4189

This past summer my dad and I helped out in my grandad’s garden. Here we are, three generations of gardeners. My grandparents live in Kansas, needless to say…they cannot grow citrus.

They do have a lot of Texas crepe myrtles growing there, but semi-tropical they are not.

(ok, there is no such thing as a Texas crepe myrtle, they are just crepe myrtles that my Dad brought from Texas many years ago.)



My Dad lives in NE Harris County and started his orchard at the same time I started mine at my old house, about 7 years ago. He probably has between 20 and 30 trees now, mostly citrus, but also apples, pears, and peaches plus muscadines and blackberries. oranges_to_kansas

He’s been taking citrus to Kansas for Christmas for a few years now. This year, my mom and him have also been boxing it up and shipping it there. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and 2nd cousins are loving these treats from Texas.

But, I digress. 


What I really wanted to tell you about are Kishu Mandarins. If you are going to grow one citrus tree, this is it! The fruit is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!

The tree itself stays relatively small, around 8 feet tall. My Dad’s 5 year old tree has produced 615 mandarins this year, and it’s not finished yet!

photo 2

These small, SEEDLESS, fruit are sweet and very easy to peel.

photo 3

Kids love them and will eat them like candy…I eat them like candy!

photo 4

I will usually pop half of one in my mouth at a time.

You may have to be patient with the tree. It took about 4 years before this one’s production took off. Dad thinks it had about 400 mandarins last year.

Harvest is from November through January. Follow typical guidelines for citrus care.

Most of Dad’s and my fruit trees have come from the Urban Harvest Annual Fruit Tree Sale. This year’s sale in on January 17th and they will be selling the Kishu Mandarin. Check out their website for more details.

The Houston Chronicle has published several good articles in the past week about local fruit tree sales and growing fruit in small spaces.

If you have a patio or any amount of yard, you can and should grow citrus. Good luck and happy eating!

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I’ve been absent from my blog for awhile and I won’t pretend that this post isn’t an anomaly, but a full-time job, 2 golden retrievers, and a new house and garden are about all I can handle most of the time. I was traveling for business this week and came down with strep throat while I was out of town, so you can imagine my delight when I was walking around the yard this evening and noticed all of the blooms. I couldn’t believe my eyes! After this winter, I haven’t been feeling much optimism about ever enjoying the outdoors again (yes, a bit dramatic, but it felt like the never ending winter, even here in Houston).
These gardens are not quite one year old yet.
Phlox pilosa 'Forest Frost' (planted in the fall of 2013)
Yarrow Paprika
IMG_1553   IMG_1554
Correction, this is a Bletilla striata not a Nun’s Orchid as was originally posted. Thanks to a friend of mine for pointing that out!   Eranthemum pulchella
Then, there’s the new street gardens, planted in the fall of 2013. About a 10’ wide by 50’ long stretch of what used to be weeds and Bermuda grass between the sidewalk and the street.
IMG_1559   IMG_1561
Blue Queen Salvia   Black footed daisy
Do I really have to say it? TEXAS BLUEBONNETS...
the stars at night are big and bright....deep in the heart of TEXAS!

Oh so guilty. In my haste to plant this rose, I forgot to document which one it is.
It is either Belinda’s Dream or Le Vesuve. I should be able to decide once it is bigger.
pretty sure this is Homestead Verbena
…And the finale! Peaches! I planted this tree last March, it was a 5-in-1. It is now a 4-in-1, but we won’t talk about that, LOL. It grew to about 10’ tall last year, I don’t expect these peaches will stay on, but sure would be nice if they did!

Other plants blooming in my garden include trailing white lantana, red firecracker, almond verbena, blue eyed grass, pink firespike, lemon sorbet shrimp plant, and salvia coccinea.

Thanks for stopping by my bloom day. Check out May Dreams Garden for more bloom day posts.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My new Dramm Watering Wand

I’m not sure that I have ever done a product review on this blog as a result of being sent a product to try. However, I do often recommend products and local gardening centers that I like. I’m actually thinking about doing a series of posts about products that I use on a regular basis. So, I guess this is my first one.

When I was in San Francisco for the annual Garden Bloggers fling, we had a demonstration by Jessica Reinhardt from Dramm’s Public Relations. I am naturally a very skeptical person, and was dreading the sales presentation. To my surprise, I was intrigued by the Touch N Flow Rain Wand that she demonstrated.


Backstory: I have to buy a new rain wand every year.

Seriously…every year.

The ones from the big box stores usually start leaking before the end of summer. The other thing that interested me about Dramm products was their lifetime guarantee.

I was at Wabash recently and noticed that they were selling the Dramm Touch N Flow 16” rain wands. A little on the expensive side, but I thought I would take a chance on it.


OMG! I love this thing! Seriously, I’m not lying! I have been really excited to water my plants with this new wand.


I do not like to spend my time hand watering plants. I think my favorite part about using this is that it delivers a lot of water, gently, and in a short amount of time. Watering my potted plants is much faster than it used to be. My opinion on this watering wand, is that it is worth the price even if it only lasts me one summer. That’s because it is saving me time. But, my bet is that it will last longer than just one summer, but only time will tell.

My strategies for watering include quick connects on all my hoses, sprinklers, and hand watering tools. I also have timers on every spigot. I also have to replace all of these things every year or two it seems.



For a while I was going through timers at least once a year. I do have one good timer though. Guess what, it’s a Dramm! I didn’t even realize it until recently when I was looking at the Dramm product catalog. I bought this timer at least 3 years ago from Southwest Fertilizer. I’ve always thought it was by far my best timer.

So, since I like these two products so much, I thought I would ask Dramm to send me a few more things to try.


So, let the testing begin! They sent me another Touch N Flow, a yellow revolver, and a set of Quick Disconnects to use. I will report back next year to let you know how durable all of these products have been in my garden.

In the meantime, if you are looking for the timer or the Touch N Flow, you can find them locally at Southwest Fertilizer, Buchanan’s, and Wabash (if you are making a special trip, you should call ahead to confirm product availability) or order them online from Amazon.


(Just so you know, I don’t get any discounts or freebies at our local garden centers. However, I do get a little from Amazon if you order from the above links.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Special Garden Gnomes

As you may be able to tell from my homepage, I really like garden gnomes. My banner picture is of gnomes I saw in Heidelberg, Germany while on a hike on the other side of the river.

A couple of years ago I was visiting my grandparents in Kansas and showing my grandma pictures of my garden. I had several gnomes scattered around the flower beds. She was feeling in the mood to clean out a few things and told me she had something for me.


She brought me a box of 4”-5” tall gnomes that she had painted. My great-grandma, her mother had owned a ceramics studio for many years (before painting ceramics and drinking wine became popular). This is where she had painted the gnomes, probably 30 years ago or more. The poor gnomes have been wrapped in tissue paper for, I guess, this whole time.


I’ve always been afraid they would get broken if I put them in the yard. At my previous house I had a lawn care service, but now, the dogs and I are pretty much the only people in the yard.


I’ve decided to let the gnomes free to do as they please.


I love my new little garden gnomes!